Following the hue and cry over rent-a-bike and rent-a-cab operations reaching a saturation point, the State Transport Authority on Tuesday decided not to issue licences for such operations for the next one year.
At the first meeting of the newly-constituted STA panel under the chairmanship of Mr R K Verma, it was also decided to increase the number of seats reserved for women in mini buses from four to eight while increasing seat reservations for women from six to 12 in big bus. Further, it was also decided to replace over 15-year-old buses in a phased manner in the next three years.
This was disclosed by the director of Transport, Mr Arun Desai at a press meeting held on Wednesday to discus the decision taken in STA meeting held on Tuesday in the chamber of principal secretary at the Secretariat.
Besides decisions on hike in reservation of seats in buses, moratorium on rent-a-cab and rent-a-bike licences and replacement of old buses, painting logo of Incredible India on GTDC buses, acceptance of demands by United Taxi Man Association, Vasco a decision on issuing compulsory ID cards for bus drivers and conductors was also made.
There are 6500 rent-a-bikes in the state and during the past six months no new permit has been issued. The decision was taken in order to safeguard the interest of self-employed taxi operators, Mr Desai told adding that in the last budget, the Chief Minister had suggested replacement of over 15-year-old public buses within three years.
Giving into demands of various NGOs and Goa State Commission for Women, the STA has ordered that the earlier provision for reserving 8 seats in 37-seater mini buses with 4 for women, 2 for senior citizens and 2 for physically disabled be now replaced with 12 reserved seats with 8 being for women. In big buses 12 seats were earlier reserved with 6 being for ladies, three for senior citizens, three for physically disabled persons but now 18 seats will be reserved, 12 for ladies, three for senior citizens and as many for physically disabled persons.
The proposal by a private bus owner to start local AC bus on Fatorda-Panaji route was also rejected by the transport authority claiming that such a service would affect business of existed buses adding that it is the prerogative of the state government to decide on it. Mr Desai further said that the proposal to start Goa-Mumbai stage carriage AC luxury bus was also withdrawn.
The STA also made a decision to take up the demands made by All Goa Private Bus Owners Association (AGPBOA) and North Goa Bus Owners Association (NGBOA) on March 14 and 15. It may be recalled that AGPBOA had demanded an increase in the bus fare from Rs 5 to Rs 10 for the first three km while NGBOA had demanded Rs 8 for first 3 km and 85 paise for subsequent km from the present 65 paise. A decision on fare hike raise for yellow and black taxi operators, auto rickshaw and yellow and black motorcycle operators will also be decided then.
A decision was also taken on issuance of ID cards with mobile number of the owner to bus drivers and conductors and that the same will have to be adhered to within 30 days.
Meanwhile, the transport director has directed officials to collect information from neighboring states on operating cost and also prepare a detailed report on reasons for enforcing a hike if any in view of the increase in fuel prices and cost of spare parts, maintenance, wages as well as inflation. [NT]